In April 2011, the state of Arizona's radiological protection agent told me that radiation fallout from Fukushima is akin to the radiation in a banana. He also drank some milk while he was talking to me. He reminded me of the Atomic Energy scientists who referred to all radiation in terms of "sunshine units" when speaking with the public.
I didn't believe him at the time, but I've spent the last two years coming to understand why he was, and continues to be very, very wrong, both about the banana and the milk.
I learned he was wrong about the milk when I spoke to the guy in the lab who tests milk for my state, Arizona. He found 50 picocuries a liter of radio-iodine in Arizona unpasteurized milk in the spring of 2011.
(The FDA considers that level "safe," but only because it doesn't calculate your body-burden of radiation and it assumes that exposure is the only radio-toxic one in your environment.)
It took me a bit longer to appreciate fully why he was so wrong about the banana. I've spent the last two years researching the history of radiation exposure standards and the bio-chemistry and genetic impact of radionuclides, such as radioiodine, radiocesium, strontium, uranium, and plutonium, among others.
Bananas are very mildly radioactive, its true. But, the minute amounts of radioactive potassium in bananas should not be compared to the fallout from a nuclear disaster.
A friend, Sickputer, recently commented on error of such a comparison:
SP: As a social sciences historian I denounce the tired old nuclear cabal lies utilizing natural bananas and natural radiation as equivalent to cesium and strontium, ad nauseam.
I remind everyone of the words of Benito Juarez who denounced the condescending air of Maximilan of Hapsburg in the 1860s struggle against the French trying to enslave the country of Mexico:
"It is given to men, sometimes, to attack the rights of others, to seize their goods, to threaten the life of those who defend their nationality, and to make that the highest virtues seem crimes, and to give their own vices the luster of true virtue. But there is a thing that cannot be reached either by falsification nor perfidy, and that is the tremendous verdict of history. She will judge us."
SP: Nuclear apologists try to make us seem like ignorant little children with their reassuring words that cesium and other radioactive isotopes are just as harmless as bananas.
Tell you what...I will modify the old Bernard Wacko Cohen plutonium/salt challenge to Ralph Nader. I promise to eat 454 grams of bananas for every 1 gram of strontium you eat in return. Or make it 1 gram of cesium since that is your "Banana Equivalent". Don't feel up to the challenge?
Well you shouldn't because cesium is NOT a nutrient! It is toxic and deadly and we have known that truth since 1941. It and strontium 90 blows up your DNA in ways scientists actually don't quite understand, but they do know how dangerous they are from testing those elements and the other 1940 plus toxic radio isotopes produced in nuclear reactors are toxic.
100 percent of cesium-137 in food is radioactive. It is not a nutrient and it is not a substitute for potassium. It accumulates in your body and lasts a very, very long time. And that's no bananas.
Majia here: I like Sickputer's arguments and here is a bit of evidence to support his assertion about the radiotoxicity of radiocesium:
In 1972 the study 'Toxicity of 137 Cs in the Beagle, Early Biological Effects’ was published in Radiation Research by a team of scientists led by H. C. Redman.[i] The study injected 66 beagle dogs ages 12 to 14 months with Cesium-137 solutions.
Eleven dogs died less than one year post-injection. The dogs that survived at one year had been given lower doses. They found 3.8 millicuries was a lethal dose. The study is relatively unique because it is one of the few publicly available on the effects of the ingestion of beta emitters by animals.
[i] H. C. Redman, R. O. McClellan, R. K. Jones, B. B. Boecker, T. L. Chiffelle, J. A. Pickrell and E. W. Rypka (1972) ‘Toxicity of 137 Cs in the Beagle, Early Biological Effects’, Radiation Research, 50.3, 629-648.
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